I'm often asked whether a Surface Pro or other Windows penabled device could do double duty as a virtual Wacom Intuos or Bamboo tablet . Although remote control of a desktop pc is possible from any tablet, including iPads, I hadn't found a setup that didn't lag or that properly passed along pen pressure until today.
Virtual Tablet from Sunnysidesoft is the first Windows or Android app I've come across that comes close to duplicating the functionality of a pen tablet over wifi.
In my tests with the Windows app running on the Asus Vivotab Note 8 and the Android version running on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, I was able to draw effortlessly on my desktop copies of Manga Studio and Sketchbook Pro. Lag on those two apps was barely perceptible and pressure range is excellent.
I also tested Virtual Tablet with Photoshop, but pressure information is not communicated. According to the developers' website, "(This is) because Adobe applications use different device driver for supporting pressure sensitivity. We are developing a new driver for Photoshop right now. However, we can’t promise when it will be ready." Dreaded Wintab requirement strikes again!
The reason Virtual Tablet performs so well may be that unlike other remote control options, it doesn't attempt to reproduce your target screen on your tablet. You'll only see a bounding box representing your target screen. You can pinch zoom in and out of the target area and lock it as well. UPDATE: These are Android-only options. The Windows version only allows full-screen or a default size that leaves a title bar. This is unfortunate because it's easier to reach icons on the sides and bottom of the screen when you reduce the size of the active window slightly.
As you hover around the tablet screen with your pen, your cursor will move on your desktop screen. The pen pointer was displayed as a small pixel on my display. I assume that's a Windows system setting, but I was unable to find the spot to change it. Because the pointer is so small on my 1920x1080 23-inch monitor, it was easy for me to lose sight of it at the top and bottom of the screen. It would be nice if the app offered some way to temporarily change the pointer while in control.
Besides providing even greater functionality for your mobile device, Virtual Tablet makes it possible to control software that would otherwise be incompatible. For example, The Foundry's Mari requires an NVIDIA or AMD graphics card with at least 1GB of RAM. But I was able to paint in the application from the Note Pro. The same should be true for Mudbox and any other app that is problematic on Intel HD graphics hardware. (I can't vouch for pressure sensitivity in Mari because I'm not familiar enough with it to test it properly.) UPDATE: I finally found a meaningful use for my AVTN8. It's a great input device for Mudbox on my desktop while Autodesk continues to grapple with Intel HD graphics compatibility.
To use Virtual Tablet with your desktop, you first need to download the free server application for either Windows or Mac (eraser tip functions are not yet supported in OS X).
Compatibility information from the developers website:
VirtualTablet requires devices with “pressure sensitive stylus pen with hover mode.". As far as we know this functionalities only available with Wacom Digitizer Stylus technology (Samsung Galaxy Note series, few ASUS tablets, and most of Windows Tablets are based on this pen).
Usually capacitive touch pens don’t support pressure sensitivity and hover mode, even though it seems like ‘stylus pen’. This capacitive touch pens are just same as using your finger. Therefore it is not supported by VirtualTablet.
Supported: Galaxy Note series, few ASUS tablets, Windows Tablet(MS Surface, Slate 7, ATIV, ASUS Eee Slate, etc.)
NOT supported: Galaxy Tab, ASUS tablet, Nexus Tablets (Nexus 7, 10), HP TouchPad and other usual tablets & phones.
Virtual Tablet is available as a free trial, but for only $1.99 for the Windows Store version and $1.86 for Android, it's an absolute no-brainer.